Below is a full transcript of Steve Atwater's entire Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speech following the presentation by his former teammate Dennis Smith. Note: Spelling of names may be an approximation.
"Dennis, my appreciation and respect for you cannot be overstated, man. I learned so much from you. Thank you for inspiring me to be fearless, my brother.
"First, I want to thank God for this moment and for bringing all of us together, despite the terrible pandemic that the world has been facing. I stand here because of so many incredible people who have stood beside me. To David Baker, to your team, thank you for a dream come true. I'm humbled and honored to wear this gold jacket.
"Congratulations to the Class of 2020. It was a little bit of a wait, but hey, we're up in this thing now, right? We're here!
"I also want to congratulate the Class of 2021, and to everyone here on stage today, it is an honor and a pleasure to be here with each and every one of you. What a squad. C'mon, man! What a squad we've got up here!
"To Jeff Legwold and the other writers who voted for me for the enshrinement, thank you. And thanks to all of my colleagues on radio and TV who called me 'a future Hall of Famer.' You know who you are. I appreciate you.
"I would like to express my gratitude to the Denver Broncos organization, Mr. Bowlen and to the Bowlen family. Mr. B was a kind and generous man who knew how to make people feel special. I appreciate all that he did for our team. What a phenomenal leader he was.
"Mac Freeman, Joe Ellis — man, what can I say? When my wife and I wanted to move back to Denver, you made a place for me in the Broncos organization. And Mac, you must have some kind of crystal ball because you predicted that one day I'd be standing on this stage. Thank you both, from the bottom of my heart.
"Lisa Williams and Kelsey Zimmerman, you ladies are amazing. Thank you for helping us organize this memorable occasion.
"I've been blessed to have some of the best coaches in the game. To my Lutheran North High School coaches — Mike Russell, Carl Holsheim and Kirk Mueller — and also all of my teammates, thank you for being here. And coaches, thank you for your consistency, your leadership and your encouragement.
"To my University of Arkansas coaches — Ken Hatfield, Bobby Trott, Fred Goldsmith — all of my Hogs fans in the building and my teammates, thank you.
"And thank you to the many Broncos coaches. Are the Denver Broncos in the house? A lot of coaches contributed to my development, both on and off the field. Dan Reeves, Wade Phillips, Charlie Waters — thank you. Rich Smith, Alvin Reynolds, Greg Robinson and my lifetime friend, Ed Donatell, and of course Mike Shanahan, the most-organized and disciplined person I have ever met in my life, and obviously the coach who led us to those back-to-back Super Bowl victories — thank you for being amazing coaches, for believing in me and for your guidance over the years. I also want to thank our strength and conditioning coaches, Al Miller and Rich Tuten for always keeping us in tip-top shape. And also my trainers, Jim Keller, James Collins and Steve Antonopulos, aka 'Greek' — 'Greek,' congratulations to you for a remarkable 45-year career with the Denver Broncos. You are amazing. Thank you for everything.
"I also want to thank the New York Jets organization and all of my teammates and coaches there. That was a great experience.
"And finally, thank you to my sports agents and my friends, Peter Schaffer, Lamont Smith, Jamie Fritz. Thank you.
"And now I'll get to thank the people whose love means, man, more than I can ever say.
"To my mom, Jessie Atwater, who I know is looking down on us and is very happy for this very moment: I want to say to you, mom, thank you for the sacrifices that you made, for always loving me and showing me how to never give up on those you love. I love you and I miss you, mom.
"To my dad, Jeff Atwater, who's proudly watching from home with his lovely wife, Bernice: Dad, I always knew that you loved me unconditionally, and I know how much you sacrificed to send me to Lutheran North High School, and that laid the foundation for everything that followed. Thank you for believing in me and for always being there for me. I love you, bub.
"To my siblings, Stephanie, Michelle, Sabrina, Rick, Ronnie and to my brothers-slash-cousins John Taylor and Gordon Taylor, thank you for your love and support over the years. I love you all so much.
"And to my in-laws, Mama Love, Robert, Clarence, Malcolm: Thank you for welcoming me into the family more than 35 years ago. I love you all
"Now, to my three beautiful, good-hearted sons, Stephen, DiAndre and Paris: Hey, man, I'm honored to be your father, and I'm proud of the incredible young men that you've become. Keep working hard and striving to reach all of your goals. Your mother and I will always be in your corner. We love you, man.
"And to my beautiful, ideal daughter, Malaysia: You are such a blessing to our family. And every day, you teach us about being courageous, authentic and vulnerable. We love you, and we can't wait to see the amazing things that you're going to accomplish. I love you, baby.
"And to my beautiful wife of 30 years, Letha: The first time I saw you walking across the campus, I knew we'd be together. When I finally got the courage to tell you, you looked at me like you had a whole lot of brothers who told you to stay away from those athletes. But we became friends first, and our relationship blossomed into something that I cherish dearly. Letha, you are strong, loving and giving, and I thank you for being by my side throughout this journey. I love you, sweetheart.
"And now, for all of my teammates who I played with over the years, will all of you please stand up? John Elway, Terrell Davis, Dennis Smith, Rod Smith, Ray Crockett, Alfred Williams, Karl Mecklenburg, Mark Schlereth, Neil Smith, 'Romo', Habib, Keith, Rondell, Wyman, 'House,' Randy — all of you guys! Stand up! It was truly and honor to play with each and every one of you. You all have touched my life in one way or another, both on and off the field, and I appreciate you all.
"And finally, thank you, Broncos Country! I love you all. God bless!"